The Nice Little Blonde Girl

The Nice Little Blonde Girl is all about discoveries of things that are hidden. Not just the whereabouts of the previously unknown Talmudic codex that takes Lily and Simon from Israel to Rome to Lviv, but what secrets lie beneath the surface. 

In the Timna Park caves where they’re hiking when “duty calls,” remnants of a long-ago civilization have been excavated by archeologists for generations. The codex itself turns out to be a palimpsest, a document with another hidden underneath the obvious writing. And the character of Chana/Magdalena/Sofia is multi-layered because of the life experience first imposed on her by war and ultimately the outcome of resilient determination to adapt and thrive. A palimpsest life, if you will. 

Juxtaposing this fictional life with the real-life Golden Rose for whom a magnificent synagogue was named perpetuates the secrets theme, because what exactly happened to that legendary heroine is disputed. Were her beauty and feminine appeal the reasons she was sent to deliver the money that saved the synagogue? Or was her fate accidental and grieved? Indeed, did she really never return? 

Chana/Magdalena/Sofia is based on the life of my own cousin. The term I’d heard about why she left the home of her Christian protector was that she was “exploited.” Treated like a servant by the woman who took her in or something worse? What I know for sure is that once hidden, she remained hidden by permanently assuming a Christian identity and only at the end of her life telling the family she raised that she’d been a Jewish child.

It’s what was hidden that piqued my curiosity and inspired this book.